Saturday, November 17, 2007


Adrian Tomine

I’m pretty late in joining the bandwagon on this one, but damn, this is a good book. I’m not surprised that Adrian Tomine is quite often compared to the Hernandez Brothers, since I was pretty much thinking that all the way through this graphic novel. Shortcomings follows Ben Tanaka, as he struggles with relationships and race issues filtered through an extremely cynical viewpoint. A lot of interesting things are examined through the Asian characters that struggle with stereotypes, and the fine line between pride of heritage and overpraising things merely because they’re related to their heritage. This is a work full of beautiful art and stimulating conversations, with complex, interesting characters that make for a really rich finished product. Even if the main protagonist is a complete ass, it’s an absolute pleasure to spend time with him being a smartass (though you may want to slap the guy a few times). It’s easy to imagine myself rereading this several times to re-experience the fantastic dialogue and the situations that feel realistic and hit pretty close to home. I think anyone can really relate to some aspects of the book, even if they don’t find themselves in very similar circumstances. It’s pretty universal, and expertly told. I feel like so much has been said about this book that I don't really have anything new to add, but I have to encourage people to seek this out. Anyone who hasn't yet read this book is really missing out on one of the best offerings of the year. A+

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